Sheffield Wednesday: 'My best time in football' - Barry Bannan reflects on his time with the Owls

Four years on after making his Owls debut on a sunny, bright afternoon at Burnley, Barry Bannan remains an influential figure in the team's midfield engine room.

By Dom Howson
Saturday, 14th September 2019, 7:48 am
Updated Saturday, 14th September 2019, 8:49 am

The Scotland international continues to make Wednesday tick in the centre with his energy, diverse passing range and vision.

Now in his fifth season at Hillsborough since arriving on a free transfer from Crystal Palace, Bannan has clocked up over 160 Owls appearances.

The 29-year-old has twice gone close to promotion from the Championship with the Owls, losing in the play-offs on each occasion.

Owls star Barry Bannan

But Bannan has firmly established himself as one of the top midfielders in the division and a firm fans' favourite at S6.

"It’s been amazing," he said. "My best spell in football.

"I wanted to be in the Premier League by now, with this club.

"That hasn’t happened, but the way the fans have taken to me is unbelievable. The relationship I have with the fans is something I never thought would happen when I came here.

"It’s four years, but it has flown past. I have enjoyed every minute, but obviously I would rather be playing in the Premier League.

"I still have aspirations to that, and hopefully that can happen this year.

"When I signed my last contract, I have three more years, so hopefully I can achieve promotion this year.

"I don’t want to leave or retire without getting this club to where they should be. Hopefully with the new manager coming in we can get there this season."

One of Wednesday's play-off disappointments came at the hands of tomorrow's opponents Huddersfield Town.

After a goalless draw at the John Smith's Stadium in the first leg of the semi-finals, Steven Fletcher headed the Owls in front in the return leg at Hillsborough.

But captain Tom Lees netted an own goal and the Terriers went on to edge the subsequent penalty shoot-out, before beating Reading at Wembley.

Bannan said: "They went on to get promoted that year. But when you look back to that game (at Hillsborough) it was probably a 20-minute spell. We nearly scored to make it 2-0, that would have killed the game and it could have been us (going to Wembley).

"But fair play to them, they went on and had to win the final too. They went on to play in the Premier League, and that’s what we want to do.

"But there’s no point looking back at that. Sunday is just another game."

Huddersfield are languishing in the Championship relegation zone after picking up just one point from their opening six fixtures.

"We need to go there and concentrate on what we are good at," said Bannan. "We know Huddersfield are a good team, they haven’t got off to the start they probably wanted, but have quality in their squad. We know that from the times we have played against them.

"We have to try and capitalise on the bad start to the season and take three points."